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The stakes could not have been higher as Iraq's Sunni and Kurdish delegates walked out of parliament on Tuesday during a session in which they were set to form a new government. 

The inaugural session had a lofty goal: to solve the political crisis of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's embattled government, which has been beset by deep sectarian divisions. Set against the backdrop of the violent ISIS offensive in northern and western Iraq, the cause for Iraqi unity had never been more salient.

Could they do it? Maybe. Would they do it? Nope. As the Times relayed:

After the new Parliament took a short recess after less than an hour of debate, Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers did not return. There were not enough lawmakers present for a quorum, forcing the session to be adjourned for at least a week. 

The failure prompted a broad exchange of blame across the aisles with Kurds and Sunnis saying that al-Maliki and the Shiites weren't ready to make a deal and with al-Maliki blaming the Sunnis and Kurds for the breakdown.

Meanwhile, the most serious threat to stability in Iraq continues to rage not far from the capital. Yesterday, ISIS targeted the Imam al-Askari shrine, which set the country on the course of civil war after it was attacked in 2006.

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